The Hillary-as-hawk talk is a caricature. Much damage has been done to U.S. influence first by failed military involvements and then by the effort to downsize the U.S. role and shift burdens to others. Acute awareness of that damage would shape the strategies of a Hillary Clinton administration. Doing better will take time, thought, and effort. It can’t rely on instinct.
For the first time ever, the United States abstained in the annual United Nations General Assembly vote to condemn the U.S. embargo of Cuba. The vote was bad enough; the explanation of vote offered by our envoy at the UN was in many ways even worse. Elliott Abrams explains the problem in National Review.
Whoever wins the U.S. presidential election faces political divisions that will hobble immigration and trade policy but progress may be possible in areas like infrastructure and tax reform, says CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Sebastian Mallaby uses the framework of central bank power to examine the rise and recent decline of the cult of the expert. He concludes that, ironically, experts need to play the political game if they hope to maintain their legitimacy; and that a healthy democracy is well served by a mix of public accountability and technocratic independence.
Donald Trump began the final presidential debate in what was, for him, an unexpected fashion. He was subdued, spoke calmly, and sounded like a conventional Republican. He promised to oppose abortion, support the Second Amendment, and appoint Supreme Court justices who “will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted.” But about halfway through, Trump made one crazy, false statement after another. It was a farrago of falsehoods the likes of which no one has ever seen...since Trump’s last debate. What does it tell you about the future of the Republican Party that so many ordinary Republicans seemed to thrill to his misstatements and vicious attacks?
Donald Trump’s attempt to assign blame for his potential defeat is violating the most basic tenet of democracy: The willingness of one side to accept defeat at the polls and acknowledge the legitimacy of the winning side. That is something that candidates such as Richard Nixon in 1960 and Al Gore in 2000 did even when there were legitimate questions of election fraud. They realized that at some point pursuing their own ambitions would fray the very fabric of our democracy. Trump either doesn’t know that or doesn’t care.
Our democracy is under attack by Russia, but almost no one is treating the situation with the gravity it deserves. President Obama is loathe to retaliate. Would-be president Donald Trump denies that any attack is happening. And the media are acting as enablers for the attackers.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »